action:article | category:SPORTS05 | adString:SPORTS05 | zoneID:90

Home » Sports » Golf

April 06. 2014 8:33PM

Masters-bound Jones beats Kuchar in Houston Open playoff

Australian Matt Jones executed two near-miracles in quick succession to win the $6.4 million Houston Open in a playoff on Sunday.

He dramatically earned a last-minute ticket to the Masters when he sank a 40-yard birdie to beat Matt Kuchar at the first extra hole at the Golf Club of Houston.

“I told my caddie I would chip it in, so it was nice to do it,” Jones told NBC TV after an Australian won in Houston for a ninth time.

“It’s been a while coming. I’ve been out here for seven years now so it’s good to finally get one. I’ve had a few chances.”

Minutes earlier, Jones birdied the same par-four 18th by sinking a 45-foot putt that at the time seemed like it would be too little, too late.

But Kuchar, who summered in New Hampshire as a kid and whose grandfather, Maurice, once starred in football at Manchester Central and UNH, pulled his approach shot from 216 yards into the water hazard at the same hole and, after taking a penalty stroke, did well to salvage a bogey thanks to a deft pitch and force a playoff.

Jones earns $1.152 million for his first PGA Tour victory and becomes the fourth player from his country to win in the past seven weeks, joining Jason Day (WGC Match Play), John Senden (Tampa Bay Championship) and Steven Bowditch (Texas Open).

The 33-year-old from Sydney has never played in the Masters, and he needed nothing less than a victory in Houston to secure the final spot in the first major of the year next week.

Jones started the final round six strokes behind Kuchar and fell further adrift when he bogeyed the first hole.

He also bogeyed the 17th after driving into a hazard, but still carded a 66, while Kuchar shot 72. They finished at 15-under-par 273, two strokes ahead of Sergio Garcia.

Spaniard Garcia, the halfway leader, will arrive at the Masters with confidence. So will Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, whose closing 65 matched the low round of the tournament.

He finished equal seventh on eight-under, while Phil Mickelson also had a solid week, a further stroke back heading to a tournament he has won three times.

Kuchar also will travel to the Masters in good form, though mindful he has failed to close the deal the past two weeks.

The six-time PGA Tour winner led halfway through the final round of the Texas Open last week but finished equal fourth, and took a four-shot advantage into the final round in Houston.

Kuchar needed only to par the par-four 18th to win in regulation but his second shot, with a hybrid, was doomed for a watery grave the entire way.

“That’s in the water. Golly, Matty,” Kuchar said angrily while his ball was still in the air. He subsequently sank a three-foot putt to stay alive.

In the playoff, Jones drove into a fairway bunker and then sprayed his second shot short and right of the green, his ball stopping in light rough.

As a steady rain fell, he calmly pitched over a greenside bunker and his ball rolled forward inexorably into the hole.

Kuchar had a chance to extend the playoff, but his bunker shot came up well short.

“I’ve been working hard on the chipping and putting. As soon as it came out, it was exactly where I wanted,” Jones said of his winning shot.

Jones will have to change his travel plans to Augusta, but he has no complaints.

“I have a lot of tickets to buy right now,” he said.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

NHMS, Miller Lite extend deal for another 3 years

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!